Who approves animal ethics applications: Animal Ethics Committee

If you plan to hold or use animals at the University of Sydney you must apply to the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) for permission to do so. This is a requirement of the NSW Animal Research Act 1985. Animals may not be held and projects must not commence until written approval has been received from the AEC.

The primary purpose of the AEC is to protect the welfare of the animals and ensure that they are used in a way that is scientifically worthwhile.


The AEC is composed of approximately 14 people. Two members are lay people, three members represent animal welfare organisations and three members are veterinarians. The remaining members are animal researchers and are drawn from the biological, medical, and behavioural sciences.

Category A: Veterinarian

Category B: Researcher experienced with the use of animals for scientific or teaching purposes

Category C: Animal welfare member - members of or are nominated by an animal welfare organisation

Category D: Independent member - not associated with animal-based research, and not associated with the institution except under defined circumstances.

Committee meetings

The University of Sydney currently has two Animal Ethics Committees who meet monthly to consider applications. This ensures that an AEC meeting is held fortnightly.
For each application, a spokesperson is assigned who presents the application to the Committee. The spokesperson can work with the applicants prior to the meeting in order to fill any gaps in the application.

The secretary of the AEC will contact applicants as soon as possible after the meeting to inform them of the outcome of their application and to explain any objections that have been raised by the Committee that will need to be addressed by the applicant.